How many kites do you need? Mark Shinn speaks

Mark Shinn on kite world mag blog … WISDOM

a board so big they used their shorts to kite
a board so big they used their shorts to kite

Every time I open my account on a reasonably famous social media site it asks me ‘What’s on your mind right now?’. It’s an interesting question, because when I open Facebook there is usually absolutely nothing on my mind, hence the reason I logged-in in the first place. However, right now I do have something on my mind, and it’s about sharing. Kite sharing to be precise.

I recently took a trip with a friend; we took the van, surfboards, kite gear, bikes – all the toys and we were ready for anything. My companion doesn’t kite much and, as he’s about 20 kilos lighter than me, I suggested that we just took one set of kites, thinking we’d be fine unless he needed the biggest kite to get going or I needed the smallest.

First day of wind and what happens? Yep, we’re fighting over the seven metre and I end up going on the five. Surely there’s an anomaly there; heavier guy on smaller kite? But considering he was less experienced I caved in and let him have the seven. The session, however, was all-time for both of us and the reasons how it had been so good got me thinking.

We have a culture that places great importance on the size of the kit. Most riders arrive at the beach, look at the conditions and quickly decide ‘Oh it’s nine metre weather’, or ‘It looks good for my 12’. But think about it for a second; in which other sports do you make such choices? I don’t think it’s very many. In fact, once I started thinking about it I started to wonder if kiteboarding was progressing once more and that there are changes taking place in our sport right under our noses, without anyone talking about it.

In hindsight I realised that I’ve recently been making my kite size choices based far less on the wind strength and my body weight, than on the sea conditions and what I want to do. Today’s kites have a range so large that on any given day you could manage to ride two, or maybe even three kite sizes. For old school and jumping (oh hang on, after the King of the Air, maybe I should be calling it new school?) I might take a ten metre.  Alternatively, if I want to ride strapless in the same conditions, I would take a seven or, more likely, a five metre.


Okay, it’s not all down to advances in kite design as, of course, there is an element of technique involved. Generating speed on a small kite in lighter winds is an art form that takes some time (and walking home) to perfect, but it’s one worth working on, especially if you have aspirations of riding more waves and, more specifically, riding better waves.

One of the sad facts of kitesurfing life is that the best waves usually have the worst winds; gusty and offshore or situated in spots where the wave is protected from the effects of the wind, making it super gusty and hard to ride. You could take a bigger kite and power through the gusts, but all that power would overly dictate the way you could ride the wave. Plus, bigger kites are always slower, restricting you further. I’m not about to write a technique article here; if you want some pointers then think about efficiency and speed. Radical changes in any respect will cause you to slow down; speed is your friend in light winds. More speed = more apparent wind = more power in the kite. Think gentle kite movements, try to ‘massage’ the board over the surface of the water and try to feather the bar; removing any sudden power up or depower moments that can break the air flow
over the kite’s surface and choke your forward motion.

Holding down a bigger kite requires less finesse but no less amount of technique. Different technique perhaps, but skill nonetheless. Managing the power and getting the most from it puts the onus firmly on strength and control rather than efficiency and flow, but if you want to go big then it’s a technique you might have to learn.

Okay, reality check: not all riders have two boards and not all riders have the luxury of enough time on the water to be able to focus on multiple disciplines and still progress. However, can you remember rushing to the beach for that after-work session when the wind was dropping just as you arrived? Maybe if you polished your light wind skills you could have squeezed in 30 minutes after all?

Either way, there’s no need to spend any extra money on gear; it’s about learning to make the best of what you have and becoming a better rider because of it.

Once again I’ve lost my track in this column. I sat down to write about how I think the days of quiver sharing are now gone. How even though you and your partner might be very different weights, you can end up clashing on the kite sizes you want to use… unless you have a full set of every size! Having said that, in my opinion, for your own personal use, it’s now perfectly possible to have just a two kite quiver and miss only a very few days.

Next time you go to the beach have a think about what kite you ‘might’ be able to ride, rather than just looking at what kite everyone else is riding. It might open your eyes to new possibilities and there is surely no better way to motivate your kiteboarding enthusiasm than by learning new things. If you have kites that are getting on a bit you might also find you can replace your four kite quiver with two new sizes and enjoy all the same conditions.

Look at that: budget and technique tips in the same article! I’m pretty sure I deserve a pay rise!


New kites for new holiday

Ordered some new kites to go with the cheapie holiday I booked to Cape Verde. Realised it might be time as I came in Saturday with my Waroo 7m and realised it was from 2007 and a wee bit tired and jellyfishing with age ….best_ts_kite_v2_alt_4

best of all – one pump


not sure what colour as I have ordered older 2013 kites and not the new 2014 V3 one – Savings

Performance for All


If your sessions take in unhooked new school, freeride and even some wave riding then the TS is made for you. Built with our Double Core RS canopy fabric the TS v2 delivers amazing crossover performance with the focus firmly on new school and unhooked performance.

The 5m and 6m TS sizes are the perfect high wind kites. Their Ride Optimized open-c platform delivers rock solid stability, predictable handling and broad sweet spot to help you conquer any conditions. The 7m – 12m sizes let you express your style in the air and on any wave. Responsive unhooked steering, light bar feel and great jumping ability ensure the TS remains the favorite sizes for new school riding- it’s the most versatile SLE kite in our 2013 line-up.

For light wind riding and racing, the 15m and 17m TS kites are the most aerodynamically refined and popular light wind kites we’ve ever made. The largest TS sizes will keep you riding after everyone else has packed up for the day.


“Performance for all – With the TS v2 I wanted to provide high performance riding in every category for every rider. We’ve managed to squeeze more speed from each size and reduce bar pressure on every kite; it’s incredibly fun to ride.”
— Peter Stiewe

A short bridle gives you precise, direct handling with plenty of feedback. A single, self-adjusting front bridle tow point helps provide the stability, low end power and upwind ability that you need to perform.

Every TS is shaped and tuned to deliver incredible crossover performance. 5m-12m sizes are created for unhooked Freestyle and Freeride while the 15m and 17m sizes deliver unbelievable light wind and racing performance.

Double Core Rip-stop has twice as many reinforcing fibers woven into the warp and well as standard Ripstop fabrics – giving you twice the performance with no weight penalty. A BEST Exclusive.

There are no shortcuts to creating lasting durability; we use the highest quality materials and most advanced construction techniques to build kites that are truly Surf Tough and the match of conditions anywhere in the world.


ordered a 6m and an 8m as I hate light wind kiting ….. this should cover me from 18-35 knots.

Flying Kiting Sailing – and a perfect 10 landing

Watch 2013’s Red Bull King of the Air perform a 790-foot tow-up over the Colombia River Gorge in Oregon. This stunt has never been accomplished by a kiteboarder before.

Stunt man — Jesse Richman


Kiting then Run

Went down to the coast this morning as the forecast was great (wasted an hour trying to get my Go Pro to switch on) think it is flecked and it has only been used once…. will check the battery compared to a pals otherwise will have to send back to B&H

troon in better weather

It was a lot windier than this pic and both Leo and I were out on our 7m kites … winds were gusting from 19knots up to about 32 – quite a change and got hit by gust twice in mid air so not the best. Leo bust his footstrap doing his 2nd kite loop so we decided to play a bit – first heading offshore to the reef … then going upwind towards prestwick past the long reef. Leo was tucking into small barrels about 3 foot from the windward side of the reef – I gave a healthier 20 foot berth to the sharp rock. I then went into the river mouth north of prestwick as the sandbar here throws up some nice waves.. Then after two hours I was knackered and headed for home ….. a good day.

Once back in Glasgow it was time for a run – today was a long run day and had intended a 20km run before I went kiting but once back and legs already a bit tired I headed off and did a shorter run  13km in 57min (a 4:24/km average) – I am planning to taper this week as I am running the Jedburgh Half Marathon next week ….. Was dreaming of a 1H30 finish but think it will more likely be a 1H37. Will see how enthusiastic race day makes me …..

Summary from Garmin Connect
BEST DISTANCES (from endomondo)
  • Cooper (12 min) 2.87 km
  • 1 km 4m:02s
  • 1 mile 6m:39s
  • 3 miles 20m:23s
  • 5 km 21m:07s
  • 10 km 43m:08s

How was your weekend?

this beats being in the cold. Kitesurf in Charleston

Have you ever looked in all the corners of your hometown and explored the possibilities available for kite spots? Follow along with Davey Blair as he scours Charlestown,SC for new terrain to ride. Nowhere is safe: from the Battery to Ravenel Bridge, it’s amazing what you can find in Chucktown.

Check it out, y’all!

Director: Adam Boozer []
Riders: Davey Blair
Kite: Park
Board: Arcade

Rolling in the Deep by Adele​us/​album/​rolling-in-the-deep/​id420075073?i=420075084
Pass the Mic Pt. 2: Skills to Pay the Bills by Beastie Boys​us/​album/​pass-mic-pt.-2-skills-to-pay/​id306148649?i=306148699
Organ Donor [Extended Overhaul] by DJ Shadow​us/​album/​organ-donor-extended-overhaul/​id133099?i=133097
Shimmy Shimmy Ya by O.D.B.​us/​album/​shimmy-shimmy-ya/​id436595893?i=436595897

Kite Park video on vimeo – sweet

Du kite devant Saint-Malo Intra-Muros

Easy Ride Vidéos
Montages, clips, teasers, publicités

Part1: Dub Terminator “Fire raiser”
Part2: David Hykes
Part3: Sage Francis – SFR Pays Dues feat. B. Dolan & Prolyphic